Saturday, January 22, 2022 

Senior DC executive Daniel Cherry resigns after less than 2 years

The Hollywood Reporter announced a very telling resignation's taken place at DC, for an executive who originally worked more in video games:
Daniel Cherry III, the senior vp and general manager of DC, has stepped down, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Reasons for the abrupt exit, which was characterized as a “quitting,” are unclear. Cherry was in the position for less than two years, having come aboard in September 2020. The role he inhabited was a newly created position at the time, crafted in response to harsh executive layoffs that occurred in 2020 and followed the departure of co-publisher Dan DiDio.

[...] Cherry came in as DC was in rebuilding mode and one of his goals was to “future-proof” the company with one of the aims being to increase its global reach. It is unclear how successful his initiatives were, but sources say DC did have a banner 2021 thanks to editorial initiatives and interest in its publishing lines thanks to The Suicide Squad movie, Sweet Tooth series and The Sandman Audible adaptation, among others.
Just like DiDio, Cherry is another bad choice for employee who won't be missed. I have no idea what they mean by "future-proofing" the publisher, but it's already obvious that, from an artistic perspective, they most definitely haven't, and EIC Marie Javins is only ensuring the excruciating disasters will continue.

It's worth considering that the news of Cherry's departure comes shortly after the news that one of DC's diversity-pandering creations, Yara Flor, is having her series cancelled pretty quickly, according to ComicBook, which predictably sugarcoats the whole subject:
In very unfortunate comics news, a wonderful DC Comics title has abruptly been canceled. In the newest DC Connect update from DC Comics, they have announced that Joelle Jones' stellar Wonder Girl series will now end with Wonder Girl #7, meaning that the previously solicited Wonder Girl #8 will not be released. Instead, Flor's adventures will continue in the upcoming Trial of the Amazons: Wonder Girl #1 and #2, which will hit later this year. This is really a shame, as Wonder Girl was one of the best books DC was releasing, and hopefully, this isn't the end of Yara's solo series shine. You can read the DC Connect announcement below.

[...] No reasoning was given, but regardless of what that reason was, it's disappointing. Yara Flor is a star and is more than deserving of a solo title, especially one that was this good. You can read the official descriptions for Wonder Girl #7, Trial of the Amazons: Wonder Girl #1 and #2, and the now cancelled Wonder Girl #8 below.
This is almost enough to laugh, how they quickly set about fawning over the whole project as instantaneously great, without even considering the way it was intended more as social jutice inclusivity propaganda than an organic effort to introduce a spinoff character from Wonder Woman's legacy. Though if no reason was provided, doesn't that signal sales were poor? Obviously, nobody cared based on the inorganic approach to marketing, thus it makes no sense to merely say the title's heroine is a "star" when they way they went about this was extremely poor.

Speaking of WW, there's some very sickening news on MSN/Games Radar, that several of the Justice League's members are being killed in April:
DC has been teasing what has looked like the death of Superman (again) as part of a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the original 'Death of Superman' story. But as it turns out, DC is going even bigger this time, killing the core roster of the Justice League - including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more - in a story that will end the current Justice League title with April 19's Justice League #75.

Justice League #75 from writer Josh Williamson and artist Rafa Sandoval will pit Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart (Green Lantern), Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Zatanna against a foe known as the Dark Army - and only one member of the League will return to tell the tale.

Who comes back hasn't been revealed, but a variant cover from 'Death of Superman' artists Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund shows coffins bearing the emblems of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Green Lantern, so we're guessing it won't be one of them.
Well! So Jurgens, one of the architects of one of the most overrated stunts of the 1990s, is contributing to this newest example of PC publishers and editors vehemently refusing to let go of what's become an obsession: killing off characters both major and minor just to make some crazy point, which, post-2000, became increasingly done for political purposes. One more reason why I've lost only so much respect for Jurgens, and have to take even the best efforts in his portfolio with a grain of salt. Interesting they chose to kill off John Stewart rather than Hal Jordan this time, if only because POC and LGBT characters are often protected by this status in fiction publishing. But, it wouldn't make any difference if it were Kyle Rayner who were the one killed, because no matter what character it is, and no matter their gender or racial background, their doing this as part of publicity stunts is exactly what makes this offensive and tasteless. Nobody who cares about entertainment merit should ever buy this.

A writer at Red State addressed the news, but while he's appalled, the way he goes about this is still very screwed up:
But times change, and in our current time, the arts have been hijacked by radical ideologues who wish to insert their politics into every facet of our escapism. Naturally, they infiltrated the comic industry and have been creating storylines and characters that nobody wanted or asked for, and as a result, have effectively crashed the American comic industry. DC didn’t escape the takeover. In fact, it was one of the brands that suffered the worst.

In fact, looking at the top 20 adult graphic novels, not one DC Comic can be seen on the list.

But DC isn’t course correcting. In fact, it’s doubling down on its LGBT, climate-change concerned, anti-patriarchy, feminist characters, and storylines and ridding itself of the past. According to Bounding Into Comics, DC has killed off the Justice League. This means their staples of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and more have met their end.

While this has been done before, DC Comics writer Joshua Williamson indicated that they are “very serious” about killing off those beloved characters.

“We want people to understand, this is serious and this is gonna have a major impact in the DCU moving forward,”
he stated.

It’s entirely possible that this could be a sales stunt and that the heroes will return at a later date…but I hope they don’t, and for several reasons, but the primary one is that I’m tired of watching these heroes be abused and morphed into something they aren’t.

The social justice obsessed and woke culture has been taking these heroes that many of us grew up with and altering them into shadows of their former selves, oftentimes advocating for modern mainstream “morals” and “virtues” that seem outside of their character. Oftentimes these plot elements and additional characters seemed shoehorned in or try-hard to a point where it becomes nonsensical and obviously political.

I would rather Batman and Superman die and stay unmolested than watch their legacies be tortured and destroyed
like a child cruelly pulling the wings off a butterfly for his amusement and then declaring that he somehow improved the insect by doing so.

My hope is that in death they would stay intact and be remembered as they were, not what these social justice-obsessed “artists” attempted to make them into.
While I can understand he's devastated at the severe political abuse the whole franchise has suffered, preferring the characters stay dead is not the answer. Mainly because their PC successors are going to continue from where they left off, serving as political platforms and turning the legacies of the true heroes into totally sick jokes. What the writer should really wish is that the whole franchise as comics were cancelled already, and/or sold off to some more sensible business, if that's how the legacies can be preserved tastefully. How such points are lost on these would-be professional commentators is beyond me.

At least he makes a point about the stark contrast Japanese manga stories have to USA comics:
The reason for this is multifaceted. For one, there’s not a drop of wokeness to be found within their pages, but two, most of them have a beginning and an end. The storylines found in manga have a goal and a purpose. Their characters and situations all work toward a conclusion that — at least the best mangas — tie up the story well and leave it alone after that. There are rarely attempts to artificially extend the storyline, cheapening the story’s finale and overusing the characters until they’ve lost that spark that made them so popular in the first place.

American comics, however, continue to wheel out these characters over and over until even fans lose interest, stop reading, and lose track.
Exactly. The specific serial fiction format used for mainstream US comics has continued so long, without any serious attempts to change it for what could be better in the long run, that it's proven to be its undoing. DC/Marvel refuse to abandon the monthly pamphlet format, nor the company wide crossovers that've been going on since Secret Wars, and even went so far as to largely abandon mainstream bookstores as a way of selling them for many years, that as a result it's no wonder it got to a point where they'd end up abused by bad political motivations. The only way things will improve for now is if the companies are folded, NOT whether the classic heroes will remain in the afterlife.

Cherry obviously condoned the very mistakes spoken about by the Red State writer, and that's why his departure from DC is for the best, as will the departure of Javins, when the publisher presumably goes under or is sold off.

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Friday, January 21, 2022 

IDW's license for GI Joe/Transformers is ending

The Hollywood Reporter says IDW's lost the license for publishing GI Joe and Transformers, which will end after they've celebrated the 40th anniversary of the former's launch as a comic in 1982:
IDW is losing the publishing licenses to G.I. Joe and Transformers, the San Diego-based comic book publisher has announced.

The moves comes in the wake of The Hollywood Reporter reporting in December that Skybound, the imprint run by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, was in talks to pick up the license from Hasbro, the Rhode Island-based toy and media corporation.
Oddly enough, it says they may still retain a license to publish comics based on My Little Pony and Dungeons & Dragons. But, this is a significant loss, and further hints where IDW's going in terms of business success. Years before, they may have been considered a success story, but their caving to social justice pandering and the PR embarrassment writer Aubrey Sitterson caused may have been but the start of their troubles. A real shame, but there we have it, and this is why some of the merchandise they licensed for comic stories may end up with tainted legacies for a time too.

If IDW folds, it'll remain to be seen if former employees learn from their mistakes. Recent examples of industry conduct suggest, alas, that it's unlikely. And who knows if Kirkman's company will be any better, if they acquire the license to develop comic series based on some of Hasbro's most famous franchises?

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Gender-swapped Zorro being made for CW

Warner Todd Huston at Breitbart announced the pretentious CW network is remaking the classic Zorro tales (which were to some extent an influence for Batman) by changing the protagonist from male to female:
Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is developing an updated, gender-swapped version of the classic old southwest vigilante tale Zorro for the CW network.

[...] Created in 1919 by American writer Johnston McCulley, until now, the story has always featured a man in the eponymous role of Zorro, i.e. “The Fox.” But along with writer-director Rebecca Rodriguez and Sean Tretta, Robert Rodriguez is planning a new, female-led Zorro in association with Howard T. Owens’ Propagate, CBS Studios, and the CW Network, according to Variety.
Now, here's where the new take on McCulley's tale seems to really differ from the original premise:
This Rodriguez iteration features “a young Latinx woman seeking vengeance for her father’s murder joins a secret society and adopts the outlaw persona of Zorro.”
No matter what the secondary status of women at the time in the 19th century, it's still odd they want to make it look like, in contrast to Don Diego de la Vega, this new female protagonist isn't well off financially, to the point she'd join a secret society, whereas in the live action film and TV programs I'd seen years before based on the tale, Vega usually worked independently (IIRC, he had a mute servant at his estate providing assistance), without being part of secret societies. So what good is this as a result? It reeks of another product that can't seem to decide whether it wants to take a surreal approach, or a more "realistic" one. And why do they keep using a slang that's not popular for promotion?

The report also notes:
There are also several other gender-swapped films in the planning stages, including a female Thor currently set to star Natalie Portman, who is finally coming back to the Marvel movie scene after refusing to reprise her Jane Foster role in the past few films. Disney has also been looking to re-boot the 1991 film, The Rocketeer, but starring a black female lead instead of the white male of the original movie and the comic book upon which it was based. Also there are plans for a remake of 1984’s Splash, as well, but instead of a man meeting a mermaid, the film is to feature a woman meeting a merman.
According to Midwest Film Journal, the new Rocketeer-based project may be about a Black lady pilot trying to defend the device during the Cold War, but it wouldn't shock me one bit if any such production turns out to be flooded with political correctness to the point where even that much wouldn't work (besides, how many films and TV shows today make a convincing case against communism?). Something tells me the 1991 adaptation of the late David Stevens' comic wouldn't be made today, based on his doing cheesecake artwork (he once lamented in a TwoMorrows interview that Disney Corp. dumbed down everything because all they really cared about was toy merchandise sales), and most modern artists don't admire his style these days, which is the saddest takeaway as it is.

It's vital to note the CW network, according to the Wall Street Journal, (via Bounding Into Comics) is now on the verge of being sold off because of its collapsing ratings, as the superhero fare they've produced is clearly not delivering anymore. So, what good does it do to produce a gender-swapped Zorro if chances are it'll be as PC as anything else they've broadcast to date?

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Thursday, January 20, 2022 

Looper exploits George Perez's retirement for stealthing in sex-negative propaganda

Looper's written about veteran artist George Perez's retirement because of his sad state of health, discussing how he changed comicdom "forever", and along the way, they most unfortunately seem to have exploited this situation to inject stealth propaganda for the sake of political correctness:
Diversity of female body types

The comic book industry has a history of reducing female characters to a few body types that are typically overly sexualized; this was especially prominent in the 1980s and 1990s. However, Pérez showed women could be depicted in various ways to highlight beauty without reducing them to cheesecake.

As Pérez told Syfy Wire in 2017, Wonder Woman comes from "an island of Amazon, and they're supposed to all be paragons of beauty, but they also look like different women. So you have to find different interpretations of what beauty is."

Pérez went on to explain the importance of depicting Wonder Woman (and other female characters) as "a paragon of feminine beauty" without making her "a sexist paragon." His approach wasn't limited to Wonder Woman and other Amazons. Other characters he created, such as Starfire and Raven, were based on fairly different women. As Pérez shared in a 1987 interview, Starfire was modeled off Marilyn Monroe while Raven was based on "Persis Khambatta, [an Indian] actress who played in the first 'Star Trek' film."

Overall, Pérez's depictions of women reflect that it has always been possible to represent a variety of female forms that still fit within the expectations of superhero comics.
I'm afraid this reeks of a sad excuse to use dialect that sounds more like a hint at glorifying obesity, and certainly petty complaints about "oversexualization". It ignores that in the first year or so of Wonder Woman vol.2, there was a scene with implied nudity, where Diana was praying to the Greek gods outdoors by the Kapatelis household. Or, how about the costume Perez gave the Scarlet Witch in Avengers circa 1998-2002? What isn't clear from this is whether they think the characterization gave the ladies intelligence to admire. Isn't that where credit is due?

They also bring up Crisis on Infinite Earths, and said:
Contributing so many characters to this series set an incredibly high visual standard. "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is a comics event that all future events have been compared to, and part of that is due to Pérez's spectacular art.
Many shared universe-wide crossovers ever since have been increasingly worse, utterly pointless, and Zero Hour was particularly hideous, what with the way it followed up on the premise of Emerald Twilight in Green Lantern to portray Hal Jordan in as loathsome a way as possible. How can any later crossover that excruciating be "compared" positively to COIE if it's got none of the same morale and good writing? That's something else they're ambiguous about. Even if COIE had entertainment value for its time, it's no excuse for sugarcoating later examples and failing to stress how trashing merit led to poorer examples. Or how, while it may be fine to add as many shared universe cast members as possible to the main tale, that doesn't mean the story had to be attached to only so many ongoing series as possible in the process, because in the long run, it drained whatever potential they had for self-contained storytelling, and along the way, even that much was devastated by bad writing that was less dedicated to what made the stories work in the first place, and didn't feel like the DCU/MCU anymore. There's only so much DC/Marvel have done in the years since that feel utterly contrived, and that's why, crossovers or not, their modern output no longer delivers.

Perez was a talented artist and writer over the years. But sadly, he's of a genration that many of today's are unlikely to appreciate or want to emulate, and these press sources writing about his past resume aren't doing him any favors either. Why, if today's quality of mainstream art from newer artists is so poor, how can one say Perez changed the landscape forever when most of them aren't making any serious effort to emulate his examples?

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022 

SDCC panders to Islamic propaganda

Religion News Service recently told the San Diego ComiCon's been paying lip service to potential Islamic propaganda:
In a November panel at San Diego’s famed Comic-Con, Sohaib Awan described “Beyond the Forest,” an upcoming graphic novel series, as “a Muslim Narnia,” referencing the fantasy novels written by British author C.S. Lewis (a series that, itself, includes a handful of references to Islamic culture).

“Beyond the Forest,” by Noor Yusuf, Tati Nuari and Anny Maulina, focuses on a group of children guided by an ostensible “wise-woman” who helps the party travel to a mystical land in a magical Mihrab — or prayer niche that typically points toward Mecca. The fantasy series is part of Fictional Frontiers, a new initiative announced at Comic-Con, which seeks to support Muslim voices with key roles in developing creative storytelling.
Look how the Religion of Peace is what's being touted at such conventions, but you almost never hear the same when it comes to Judeo-Christian viewpoints for emphasis, nor Buddhism, for that matter. Unless of course, it's penned by the most questionable leftist writers/artists around.
Awan, who is of both Czech and Pakistani heritage, had no intention of getting into the comic book industry when he had an idea for a comic book series. But his unique story about battles between jinn and aliens drew the attention of one of the major publishers in the comic book industry. When the publisher offered to purchase it, the Philadelphia-area attorney found himself refocusing on creative efforts.
One can only wonder if the aliens in question are an allusion to "infidels" or "kuffar", the figure of speech for non-Muslims. On which note, here's something eyebrow-raising:
“The entertainment industry has often limited portrayals of Islam to certain acceptable archetypes for Muslim characters and an overuse of a desert aesthetic as well. Yet, most Muslims are not from the MENA region,” Mughal told RNS, referring to the Middle East and North Africa.

The Pakistani-Canadian writer is based in the suburbs of Toronto. Her writing has drawn on the Quranic tradition and is also dedicated to exposing the violent history of colonialism.
Really, and where and what exact colonialism would that be? Might they be talking about the USA? It's clear they're not talking about the Islamic conquest of what is now Turkey, in example, or Egypt, where persecution of Copts has been a terrible situation for years. Or even the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974. And despite the claim of "certain acceptability", the showbiz industry's long caved, and bad as it is they're whitewashing Islam now, it's not like it never happened before.
The duo believes the initiative arrives at the right time as the consumer base for comic book stories has diversified. The November panel was reportedly the first since the event was founded in 1970 to feature Islamic content developed and written by Muslims.

But if Muslim heroes aren’t yet visible on the big screen, Muslim comic fans can increasingly be found at comic book conventions, such as the attention-grabbing group of Muslim women who appeared at New York’s Comic Con dressed as the various Avenger characters.

San Diego’s 2019 Comic-Con event included a panel titled “SuperSalaam: Muslim Nerds, Geeks and Fandom.” Just as newsworthy was Blair Imani, a Muslim woman who attended the panel in cosplay as the “Star Trek” character Geordi LaForge — with the addition of a hijab.

Her costume drew international media coverage and praise from LeVar Burton, the actor who played LaForge in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series. Imani reported some Comic-Con attendees opposed her inclusion of a hijab, but she pointed out that LaForge may have been of Muslim heritage, given that the fictional character was born in Somalia.
And here, we get a sad sign of where the SDCC could be going, while pro-Israeli stuff is rarely ever heard of, if at all. Not to mention how sad it is to learn Burton, one of the most significant actors on The Next Generation would be fine with this. But then, I've long been aware how far to the left a lot of former Trek performers turned out to be, with one of the most prominent being the former Capt. Picard himself, Patrick Stewart. And it's honestly depressing.

Since they mentioned the Chronicles of Narnia, this reminds me of the past dozen years, when actor Liam Neeson virtue-signaled, telling everybody Aslan the lion wasn't just simply a metaphor for Christ, but for Mohammed, at the time a movie adaptation was made:
The much-loved children’s stories have an unapologetic Christian message.

C. S. Lewis was clear that the character of Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia is based on Christ.

But actor Liam Neeson, who voices the lion in the latest Narnia film, has prompted a row after claiming his character is also based on other religious leaders such as Mohammed and Buddha.

Fans of Lewis’s stories are fuming, claiming Neeson is ruining the author’s legacy to be ‘politically correct’.
And he was. What Neeson said was:
Ahead of the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next Thursday, Neeson said: ‘Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.
How strange people like him never want to draw comparisons to Judaism openly. Otherwise, he would've made some kind of reference to say, biblical Joseph, Moses, or Bar Kochva, or any other Israelite who might make an ideal choice. More importantly, he would've studied those parts of history. In any case, the backlash included somebody close to Lewis:
Walter Hooper, Lewis’s former secretary and a trustee of his estate, said the author would have been outraged.

‘It is nothing whatever to do with Islam,’
he said.

‘Lewis would have simply denied that. He wrote that the “whole Narnian story is about Christ”. Lewis could not have been clearer.’

He attributed Neeson’s remarks to political correctness and a desire to be ‘very multicultural’, adding: ‘I don’t know Liam Neeson or what he is thinking about… but it was not Lewis’s intention.’
See, that's practically what's become the problem in the years since. The RNS article is another. And who knows, their interviewees probably want to insult the memory of Lewis in the process of what they're setting out to do at SDCC, which has just pretty much confirmed they're becoming more politicized than ever. No wonder I'm glad I was never able to travel to California to attend such conventions; it's not just that they marginalized comics proper, but now, they're injecting political correctness as well. Which doesn't bode well for a medium originally founded largely by Jews in the USA.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022 

A few tweets by Kurt Busiek

While left-leaning Busiek hasn't made many noticeable political statements of recent (which is actually a good thing), here's some items I thought were intriguing he'd written in the past few weeks. For example, this tweet about Spider-Man: Yes, I know Busiek wrote several issues of Web of Spider-Man and/or Spectacular during the 90s. But, who knows if he still upholds his and Lopresti's depiction of Mary Jane Watson in sexy lingerie anymore? Come to think of it, with Lopresti having joined the Comicsgate campaign, who knows if Busiek supports him anymore either? Exactly why Busiek's no longer a reliable scribe, if he politicizes his whole approach. Next, something about Harry Potter: Here, I assume he's hinting at an ungrateful attitude towards J.K. Rowling, something he's sadly expressed before, and it's not doing any favors. Nor for that matter, is the way transgender activists have been behaving towards Rowling over in the UK. And then, here's something about Steve Spielberg's latest movie, which tanked pretty badly: Well I'm sorry to say, but if it's as "woke" as some reports told, the movie could be described more like "Woke Side Story", as it's very sadly politically correct, and how peculiar Steven Spielberg refused to include English-language subtitles for the Spanish-language moments, supposedly out of "respect". But then, how is anybody supposed to learn how to speak in Spanish? What if I wanted to travel to a Spanish-speaking country like Mexico, Honduras, Columbia or even mainland Spain itself, and didn't know how to communicate with the locals? It's not everybody living in these countries who understands English, so it pays to learn local languages to make your way around. Same with if you're in France, Italy and Hungary. Also, why is it such a big, freaking deal to put a transgender character in the story, as Spielberg and far-left screenwriter Tony Kushner did? I get the weird feeling Busiek's got no issue with Islamic Gulf countries banning the film due to that. In any event, I've long grown tired of Spielberg, who began as a talented director, but has since degenerated into more of a political activist. Apparently, his all but abandoning the adventure genre worked against his talents in the long run. Now here's a line of tweets where he discusses a DC comics couple who were some of the most victimized characters in the past 2 decades: Gee, that's sure something coming from somebody who's never protested how in the past, misogynist mentality was running particularly rampant in the 2000s, and it took several years till it stopped. Even then, it's not like contempt for women in literary format's ever gone away. So if I understand correctly, Busiek once wanted to pitch a storyline not unlike his JLA/Avengers crossover, where Elongated Man and Sue Dibny would team with Ant/Giant-Man and the Wasp, in what'd presumably be a slapstick adventure? And once, it could've worked, but not under the situation as it's been since the turn of the century. Even Hank and Jan suffered badly, and it's not been helpful to the former whenever the 1981 storyline where he smacked the latter to the ground kept getting regurgitated. There are all sorts of ways you can depict a costumed superhero with flaws. But maybe depicting one coming close to committing spousal assault is going a bit far, and it'd be better if a "civilian" character were put in such a role instead. See, this is the boat many creators keep missing - that non-costumed characters can convey certain roles and themes better than putting a costumed character in them. Elongated Man and Sue Dibny had their mid-2000s fate quietly reversed several years ago, thankfully. But don't be shocked if, at this point, you'll never see them again in the DCU because they're white protagonists, and that's becoming toxic to the PC crowd. At this point, the only way they could come into use again under the current circumstances would be if they were race-swapped, which is highly possible, and could come entirely abruptly if the editors saw fit. Even then, you can't possibly expect a convincing sense of humor due to the PC insanity that's destroyed the comedy genre in Hollywood and elsewhere.

But if the way Busiek's written his comments is any suggestion, there's no chance he'll ever acknowledge it was bad when DC/Marvel took the tasteless steps they did back in the day.

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Monday, January 17, 2022 

Veteran propagandist sugarcoats history in what may be his last article

The Indiana Gazette published what may be Andrew Smith's last Captain Comics column, as he appears to be retiring from his pseudo-profession after 3 decades he'd been writing it. The puff piece begins like this:
As the new year launches, we inherit what is to me a still surprising world in entertainment.

A world where “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is setting box office records right and left. Where sci-fi, fantasy and comic book properties dominate the small screen, from South Korea’s “Silent Sea” on Netflix to “Book of Boba Fett” on Disney+ to “Walking Dead” on AMC to superhero and “Star Trek” marathons on BBC America. Where Marvel and DC comics characters dominate everything from toys to children’s clothing.
But not the comics. And this all fails to acknowledge something making the ostensible domination of pop culture less to be enthused about: how social justice propaganda took over much of entertainment in the past decade or so. All sorts of ideologies that stand in complete contradiction to what the original products did. Yet he says we "inherit"? I'm sorry. It's just not working that way. Because the conglomerates hold all the cards, enabling/subjecting the products to political correctness. When Smith talks about the evolution of science fiction by the 1950s, he says:
If you were a genre fan, there simply wasn’t much to choose from. Somehow it became accepted wisdom in Hollywood that science fiction was box office poison, so all we had were giant-insect movies from the ’50s, Godzilla imports and the occasional Hammer horror film. The era of Universal Classic Monsters movies was long gone, though you could see the occasional 3 a.m. rerun if you were lucky enough to live in a city with a 24/7 TV station.
Oh, I don't think that was necessarily the case. In those early cinematic eras, special effects - such as they were - weren't as advanced as they became in later years, and the best technology to convey them hadn't been developed yet. Animation to convey laser beams was about the best you could really hope for. What did provide an advantage, however, was that, in those early decades, most filmmakers relied on talented performances, and a sense of excitement through good scripting and direction. Something increasingly lacking in the recent decade, where the concept of major stars carrying the film has been less emphasized.
Speaking of TV, it wasn’t much help, either. You could catch the occasional “Twilight Zone” or “Outer Limits” rerun. I suppose Saturday afternoon Tarzan movies and reruns of “Wizard of Oz” counted. Mostly, though, you had to settle for funny fantasy like “Bewitched,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “My Favorite Martian.”

There were occasional gifts to us fans, like “Batman” (1966-68), “Lost in Space” (1965-68), “Land of the Giants” (1968-70), “The Time Tunnel” (1966-67) and “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” (1964-68). As you can see from the dates, none lasted very long.

“Star Trek” (1966-68) came and went so fast it made it into syndication by the skin of its tribbles, and spawned only four books in the next few years. (“Making of Star Trek,” “Spock Must Die,” “Trouble with Tribbles” and “World of Star Trek” — and yes, I had them all.)
Say, seeing he mentioned I Dream of Jeannie, I wonder if somebody who previously complained about "toxic masculinity" thinks that's "sexist", considering there were people who thought that way about the fantasy sitcom in later years, based on Jeannie's subserviance, though Barbara Eden did insist it wasn't. Smith's citation of the notable TV sitcom from 1965-70, sans any complaints, sure does sound like an absurd contradiction of his previous, extremely reprehensible declaration for Top Gun, no matter how innocuous the show was, and Eden's character did defy her "master" at times. Also, if memory serves, the original Trek lasted three seasons until 1969, not two as he makes it look like here. And did it ever occur to him the not very adult approach in Irwin Allen's 4 sci-fi series didn't hold up well with an audience that was hoping for adventures with more intelligent themes, like Star Trek offered? Guess not. There's a reason why the Trek franchise retained more longevity with sci-fi buffs, while Allen's productions never retained the kind of popularity to be remade successfully in later decades.

In fact, Smith doesn't even bother to lament how US animation was kept almost entirely relegated to children's status for many years, nor does he complain how a lot of Japanese offerings broadcast in the USA were subject to censorship in the process until the mid-90s, recalling several of the earliest ones I'd seen, like Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Warring Demon GoShogun, Armored Fleet Dairugger XV and Super Dimension Fortress Macross were heavily edited in their time. While animator Ralph Bakshi did have some success with X-rated cartoons like Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic, adult animation did not catch on in the 1970s, and it took until the 90s before there was some success, though with the way the Simpsons is going today, you can only wonder if it was worth it.
Of course, there were other books that explored the fantastic. Books that I lovingly called the “Nerd Canon.” These were books I felt you had to read to achieve Geek Street cred.

In the 1960s, the Canon included “1984,” “Animal Farm,” “Brave New World,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “The Jungle Book,” “Metamorphosis,” “The Screwtape Letters,” Snorri Sturluson’s “Elder Eddas” and “Poetic Eddas,” Greco-Roman mythology and L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.

It also included anything by Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Robert E. Howard, Ursula K. LeGuin, Fritz Lieber, H.P. Lovecraft, Michael Moorcock, Edgar Allan Poe, E.E. “Doc” Smith, J.R.R. Tolkien, A.E. van Vogt, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Some of it wasn’t aging well at the time (looking at you, Lensman series), and some has aged poorly since (ugh, Heinlein). Yes, I read every single book those folks wrote that I could find. And pretty much anything else with a ray gun, a sword, a femme fatale or a Frank Frazetta cover.

But that was words on paper. If you wanted to see action and color combined with unbridled fantasy and serious sci-fi, there was only one place to go: comic books.

They hadn’t made it to the ’60s unscathed — I’m thinking primarily of the draconian Comics Code of 1954, which bowdlerized them thoroughly — but by 1965 the superheroes of Marvel and DC proudly ruled funnybooks, abetted by a healthy supporting cast of war, teen humor, suspense, science fiction and, inescapably, Westerns.

Not that there weren’t land mines all around the local spinner rack. Buying, holding or reading comics made you a target of bullies. Parents, preachers and politicians sneered at them, scapegoating comics for all manner of social ills. And they were a near-certain path to eternal virginity.
Guess what? Little has changed today, seeing how fandom has been attacked by the loons now running the asylum for daring to protest any tasteless deconstruction of the classic creations and what made them work in the first place. Joe Quesada was an early example of somebody pushing in that direction, when he set about removing the Spider-marriage with Mary Jane Watson. And all the while, the MSM just shrugged it off, never recommended a boycott of Marvel for the artistic disasters they were crafting, and never asked that Quesada be taken off the company payroll. Nor did they ever ask the damage be reversed, not even what Brian Bendis wrought with his ill-treatment of Scarlet Witch. The anti-Comicsgate smears didn't help matters either. Oh, and did I mention all the modern issues with censorship? Reminds me that Smith has some responsibility to shoulder in that and cancel culture, after he threw J. Scott Campbell under the bus several years ago, all over Wonder Woman's costume(!), giving a strong hint he has no genuine respect for William Marston and H.G. Peter's viewpoints. By that logic, there was no reason for a major movie, as was seen nearly 5 years ago. What's he trying to prove about censorship, if he's got such a hypocritical stance on it?
The upsides, aside from entertainment, was that I learned to read from comic books before school, so I was already ahead of the class in speed and comprehension — even spelling and grammar — like forever. I learned Shakespeare and Bible quotes from Marvel’s Stan Lee, and science facts from DC. (Thanks, “Flash” comics, for the speed of light. Thanks, “Metal Men,” for the melting point of lead.)
What he didn't learn - or vehemently refused to - was being selfless and honest. Otherwise, he'd have defended WW's aforementioned bustier, and not gone against Campbell in the process. And he wouldn't have sensationalized Identity Crisis as he did almost 2 decades ago. Virtue-signalers don't make the best conveyors of the positives for comicdom when they've got so much past hypocrisy they're only bound to continue today.
When “Star Wars” came out in 1977, I expected something cheesy, probably involving giant insects. And honestly, when I saw it, I was smugly aware of its inspirations: Western and Flash Gordon serials, 1940s dogfight footage, “Dune” (for spice, sand people and sandworms) and Jack Kirby comics (for Darth Vader, Boba Fett’s helmet and the Force).

Nevertheless, it was a breath of fresh air — and a godsend to us non-mundanes. Its success kicked the door open for everything genre fans enjoy. Suddenly, sci-fi was no longer box office poison, and everybody wanted to jump on the bantha-wagon.

“Superman: The Movie” arrived in 1978. Paramount dusted off that old failure “Star Trek” in 1979. “Batman” followed in 1989. “X-Men” in 2000. “Spider-Man” in 2002. Then “Iron Man” exploded the box office, creating the tidal wave of content that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not to mention all the TV shows, books, magazines, merch and more that made these properties household words.
By the time SW was made, special effects technology was more advanced, making it easier to convey the elements desired. But while SW did indeed encourage more investment in the science-fantasy genre over the next decades, the components it was built on are exactly why it's not necessarily the best omen in the long run. Let's also consider some of the movies that went on to see sequels, like Superman, struck serious potholes and their fortunes were reversed pretty quickly, recalling the catastrophes of Superman III, Supergirl and Superman IV: the Quest for Peace. Even Batman's initial success ultimately wore off the same way, as the 4th movie directed by Joel Schumacher was considered the least successful, both artistically and financially. By the time that was made, it wasn't enough for a blockbuster to gross over $100 million when the marketing and promotion ensures it'll cost a lot more. And then, look how the recent, Disney-financed sequels to SW have pretty much dampened its impact, as the 3rd wound up the least successful at the box office, soaked as they were with PC/woke elements. Something the Marvel movie machine is now becoming affected by, and it made the Eternals one of the least successful entries to boot. Even DC's not immune, as Batman vs. Superman hints. It's one thing to tell how great early pop culture phenomena is, but another to throughly ignore how modern takes on the properties have made a farce out of everything.
Mon-El, an obscure character known only to “Legion of Super-Heroes” readers for three decades, got an action figure in the ’90s and a supporting role on “Supergirl” in the aughts. Black Adam — a character from the ’40s that even I had never heard of until the ’70s — is about to get his own movie.

We are now in an age wherein every single one of my private enthusiasms in the ’60s is now popular. Even the unbelievably unfilmable “Foundation” is getting filmed. My jam is now everybody’s jam.
And this obscures the leftist ideologies now being forced into these live action programs, at the expense of creations he obviously doesn't have much faith in to start with, if he sees nothing detrimental with injecting far-left agendas and ideologies into their narratives. "Unfilmable" indeed. And is it really "his" jam if he's perfectly comfortable with souring it in a sea of wokeness? But now, here comes the interesting part of this whole puff piece:
Which brings me to my point. And yes, I have one.

I started this column 30 years ago exactly, in the first week of January in 1992. At the time, it was a Q&A for all the former mundies who were quickly joining my neck of the entertainment forest, but had questions. And oh, they had questions.

Then came the internet.

It existed in 1992, of course, but not a whole lot of people were online yet.

And I was already doing a Q&A there, too, on a website that continues to this day. And I was doing yet another in the Comics’ Buyer’s Guide monthly magazine.

But eventually everyone could Google what they wanted to know, and all my columns morphed into other animals. I’ve continued to do them faithfully (except CBG, which went belly up a few years ago). Even as my newsfeed has begun filling up with other, younger folks doing the same thing.

Well, then. I’ve … won? Comics are acceptable now?

Probably not, but I’ll take what I can get
. And I’ll take this too: a life without a weekly routine of doing research, writing 1,000 words and pulling art. That’s right: I’m retiring this column.
No kidding. Well, he won't be missed. Amazing he at least half admits comics, despite all the suggestions to the contrary, still aren't acceptable, nor is animation...except as a propaganda tool aimed at children, recalling the Arthur embarrassment. Despite what the success of the Simpsons might suggest, the cartoon medium, alas, a close cousin to comicdom, just like video games, is still not embraced coast to coast, across the board as something appealing to adults in every sense in the USA, unlike over in Japan, where it's been taken more seriously, and even in Europe, it gets more appreciation than what you see in the USA. So...what's Smith's point? He doesn't have one. Not a good one anyway.

So this is going to be Smith's last Captain Comics column? If so, that'll be one less propagandist in the MSM to worry about, one who dumbs down news coverage for the sake of political correctness. Almost a dozen years ago, another one working at the Colorado Springs Gazette stopped plying his trade, and rarely ever seemed to address the medium since. I vaguely recall another one who'd written for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who may have retired in the past decade. Those who won't be honest, objective and selfless, who won't question whether jarring violence and far-left ideologies have devastated storytelling and art, have no business commenting on the medium news if that's how they're going to approach the topic. They're part and parcel of the reason why mainstream comics owned by conglomerates became so bad in the past 2 decades, and they don't seem very sorry about it. The less of these real life J. Jonah Jameson equivalents, the better. Indeed, Spidey's media-based adversary is the role model they go by, as is Bethany Snow in the Teen Titans franchise.

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Sunday, January 16, 2022 

Something fishy about Spider-Man's Life Story miniseries

The Valdosta Daily Times wrote a superficial take on the Spider-Man: Life Story miniseries, and says something fishy in the process:
Here, writer Chip Zdarsky and illustrator Mark Bagley explore what it would be like if Peter Parker had aged like the rest of us after becoming Spider-Man 60 years ago.

Many of the major people in Peter's life are here – Gwen, Mary Jane, Harry, Flash, J. Jonah Jameson – but what happens to them is different than in the traditional comics. And not just that Peter and the gang all age through the decades.

Available now in a collected format, "Life Story" was originally published in six separate issues with each issue representing a decade in the life of Peter Parker/Spider-Man: the 1960s, 1970s, etc. The collection also includes the one-shot "Life Story" annual featuring a story about the aging and embittered J. Jonah Jameson who is paying the price for his schemes to unmask and or kill Spider-Man.
Excuse me? Triple-J may have long tried to capture and unmask Spidey, but he was never depicted wanting to kill him. Just what are they trying to prove here? It sounds like Zdarsky and Bagley, along with Marvel editorial, lack so much faith in their ability to entertain, they could only think of the last, most pathetic resorts many writers in recent times have turned to: lethal force committed or enabled by adversaries and villains. So now it's not enough for Jameson to try getting Spidey caught and unmasked; now, Jameson, in Zdarsky and Bagley's vision, has to resort to deadly force, which only makes the whole affair tasteless, and even if it's seemingly set in an alternate universe setting, that's no alleviation. When I looked at this whole thread on Good Reads, some of the reader reviews said there's even references to Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man, which doesn't make for a good inspiration, and that there's even propaganda involving Captain America that's hostile to the US army in the Vietnam era. Because that's just what we need - excuses made for communists, rather than a coherent story explaining why the war in Vietnam was lost.

So more troubling than what's told in the newspaper article is what's not told there. That this is actually just another excuse to inject stealth propaganda for the sake of far-left causes, and not let the past remain as it is. Indeed, there's probably been way too many "revisionist" looks at history involving classic superheroes, which has become the disastrous go-to model for modern writers, serving as an excuse to not look forward in a way that's not forcibly political.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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